You, my first born son are halfway to Becoming A Man. At 9 yrs. old, I’ve had your for half. Lord willing, I’ll “have” you for 9 more years before you carry all your earthly possessions off to a an overly crowed dorm room. In 9 yrs. you’ll still be my baby -always- but in the eyes of the world, a man capable of making decisions that grown men make. For good or for evil, your precious shoulders will take on all the tension and joys involved in adult decision-making.
I started praying for you -intentionally and actively- praying for you in 2000. You arrived in October 2005. For 5 years, I begged God for the gift of a life I could call my own. I prayed for your soul. I prayed some of the very same prayers you hear me pray at night. I pray God would keep your heart and mind rooted in Him. I pray God would keep you safe from every sort of danger. I prayed then, as I do now, that God would give you a soft and tender heart before Him, that He will keep you surrounded in the freedom there is to love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind & strength, every day of your life. And for your namesake, Ransom, I pray you will pour your life out as a ransom for others.
As I prayed for you, much of that time nameless and faceless, my love for you exploded. By the time I was pregnant with you my joy was fully complete. The thought of you, my intense love for you swelled with joy and pride when I felt your body move within my belly. There you were. After all those years, there you were in my belly swimming around like YOLO!
For weeks before you were born, I’d go into your nursery just the thought of your occupying the crib would send me into happy, overly emotional tears of joyous overwhelm. My brain couldn’t fathom that I’d been given the gift and awesome responsibility of motherhood to YOU. On the day you were born I’d been at work from 9am -9pm. Yet, I went out for a 45 minute walk to induce labor. I simply could not wait another day to meet you! Within 10 minutes of that walk, I laid down on our bed, you made a sharp, strong kick and just like that my water broke. We did it little buddy, we did it! It was the beginning of our beautiful partnership.
When the Doctor handed you to me, you whimpered sweetly until I looked you in your eyes and spoke softly to you. In all of my days, I will never forget the moment when you heard my words, stopped crying and gazed at me with complete & utter fascination. I could do nothing but let the tears flow. I too was mesmerized by what I was looking at: a tiny perfect face with a gorgeous set of eyelashes, shiny curly hair and a miniature button nose. I had never experienced a moment more profound nor a soul more beautiful.
And now, my sweet boy, you are 9.5. Halfway to 18. You make the flying sounds, the shooting sounds, the firing sounds, the fighting sounds all day. In your bed at night, on your way to the breakfast table, strapped into a booster seat, while getting dressed, there is a symphony of fighter jets and army men flying and fighting in the ongoing battle scenes vividly drawn in your imagination. You spend hours perched on the floor with your LEGO’s, every piece arranged to perfection for the epic battle they must face. In a little under 20 minutes you can take a few sheets of blank white printer paper, scissors, tape & a black marker to construct the coolest weaponry and battle scenes I’ve ever seen. There is no focus like when you see a cool scene, grab a pencil and reconstruct it to perfection, but with your own spin. You my son, are an artist.
In a couple of years, middle school is coming for you. Dear God you’ll be in 6th grade in a sea of 7th & 8th graders –cruelest children on the planet. Perhaps even before that time arrives the kids with the Mean Things To Say will go in on you for one thing or another. Maybe not everyone will like your big, curly fro. Maybe they’ll mockingly sing-song “Handsome Ransom” and you’ll hate Dear Mom & Dad for naming you so uniquely. Maybe you’ll see another kid who makes art like you, and you’ll fear (s)he is doing it better and wonder why you should try at all. Maybe you’ll find yourself lost in the Great American Identity Crisis, maybe you’ll feel you MUST DECIDE IF YOU ARE BLACK OR WHITE because maybe the pressure will be on to choose: your black mother or your white father. I hope not, but maybe.
The point is, son, the hard times, well they are coming for you. You’ve all ready endured The Divorce you never thought would happen and I’ve seen your little heart break in two. Here is the depressing truth that I learned growing up: the tragedies of life don’t protect the young. By the time your 18 ,you’ll have experienced many more. I wish with all my might that I could protect you from each and every one! But all I have to give is this: sage wisdom that God is faithful and present, kind and loving, long-suffering and amazing through each and every one if you look to Him for strength. That’s what I’ve lived and that’s what I know. People will fail. Miserably. I will fail miserably. I have failed miserably. But He is trustworthy.
You are love embodied. I see you go out of your way to love and empathize with your little brother, the kid down the street, the orphan in Haiti. When you lose your empathy, son…well, you’ve lost almost everything. Cling tightly to love & empathy, for out of it will flow tremendous compassion. And in compassion there is freedom to love those who are remarkably -even offensively- different from you. And in love, there is freedom. I’ve seen freedom in your eyes, don’t ever let it go.
When I take you out for our Mama-Son solo dates, you get the same thing each time…chocolate ice cream + brownie chunks + chocolate fudge in a waffle shell dipped in chocolate. When I ask you how I can be a better Mama to you, you say the same two things each time… “maybe don’t raise your voice as much, “or “no ways.” When I ask you if you know how much I love you, you confidently respond the same way each time… “yes Mama, I know that you love me for sure.”
9.5 more years to keep showing you Mama loves you for sure, Handsome Ransom.
Ransom David, my heart, my treasure I love you,